Chris Madsen takes a look at a new version of a VR horror favourite, Affected. Out now for the GearVR, Affected: The Manor now lets you scare the hell out of yourself wherever you are.
One of the exciting things about being an early adopter and owner of the first Oculus Rift developer kit was having access to developer experiments exploring different genres of virtual reality and learning the effects these experiences had on the user. Creative and groundbreaking ideas were being released regularly, blowing our minds in new ways with each new experience.
It was only a matter of time that horror would be introduced to our VR enabled brains. Users quickly discovered, as evidenced by a flood of YouTube reaction videos, that horror takes on an entirely new level of intensity when experienced in this medium leaving a significant number of people ‘noping out’ within minutes of engagement. Who knew that what appeared as relatively benign on screen would be nearly heart stopping in VR?
So what prompted Fallen Planet to rework the Oculus Rift original for mobile VR? “We had a lot of requests from people that had played it on the DK2 or had seen it played on Youtube, last time I heard we have over 150 million views, that’s a lot of people that all wanted to see our VR experience!” say the studio, “Thanks to the growth of VR mobile however, many of those people now have Samsung Gears or Cardboard headsets and want to try AFFECTED for themselves … That brought along its own challenges, we’ve learned a lot though and we feel we’ve been able to add new dimensions and features to the mobile build that we didn’t have in DK2 version.”
A number of horror experiences during this period quickly became community favorites. One such title was Affected, developed by Mark Paul of Fallen Planet Studios, which eventually developed into three scenes ripped straight from your nightmares including a haunted manor, an asylum and a clown filled carnival from hell.
Having just completed a playthrough, I can attest that it is indeed a significantly new experience. Having been a beta tester for the DK1 and DK2 version I was tickled to find that it felt fresh right out of the gate. Knowing the immense efforts to keep framerates high in the original version, it is impressive to see Affected running so smoothly on GearVR.
This is the most polished version yet with new effects such as gazed based triggers, alternative paths to follow and awesome staged events that made the series so much fun to begin with. The controls are simple, moving forward by holding down the touch pad allows users to focus on the dilapidated environment and unnerving events unfolding around them. Priced at $2.99, The Manor is a purchase that will keep on giving as you demo it again and again to those wanting a taste of VR horror. The reactions alone will be worth the price of admission.
So where next for what can now be legitimately labelled a VR franchise? “Our first release for the Oculus Rift and the Vive will be a re-mastered and updated version of the original AFFECTED trilogy. It’s been a joy developing these after the restrictions of mobile VR development. The remastered trilogy will be much longer than the original DK1 version with many more features and sensation based elements added that enhance the experience and take advantage of the performance capabilities and graphical fidelity of tethered HMDs.”
Affected: The Manor is available now for GearVR via the Oculus Store.